Smartphone App Use Among Medical Providers in ACGME Training Programs
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- Franko, O.I. & Tirrell, T.F. J Med Syst (2012) 36: 3135. doi:10.1007/s10916-011-9798-7
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The past decade has witnessed the advent of the smartphone, a device armed with computing power, mobility and downloadable “apps,” that has become commonplace within the medical field as both a personal and professional tool. The popularity of medically-related apps suggests that physicians use mobile technology to assist with clinical decision making, yet usage patterns have never been quantified. A digital survey examining smartphone and associated app usage was administered via email to all ACGME training programs. Data regarding respondent specialty, level of training, use of smartphones, use of smartphone apps, desired apps, and commonly used apps were collected and analyzed. Greater than 85% of respondents used a smartphone, of which the iPhone was the most popular (56%). Over half of the respondents reported using apps in their clinical practice; the most commonly used app types were drug guides (79%), medical calculators (18%), coding and billing apps (4%) and pregnancy wheels (4%). The most frequently requested app types were textbook/reference materials (average response: 55%), classification/treatment algorithms (46%) and general medical knowledge (43%). The clinical use of smartphones and apps will likely continue to increase, and we have demonstrated an absence of high-quality and popular apps despite a strong desire among physicians and trainees. This information should be used to guide the development of future healthcare delivery systems; expanded app functionality is almost certain but reliability and ease of use will likely remain major factors in determining the successful integration of apps into clinical practice.